Saturday, 3 April 2010
RSPCA LINKED TO THEFT OF PUPPY
Officers are refusing to rule out the possibility that the black Labrador may have been stolen.
And the dog's owner, Nigel Rowley, from Biddulph, is now offering a £150 reward for the return of his pet Oliver.
The 24-year-old, who lives in Albert Street, said: "I'm gutted to be honest. I'd been saving up since October to buy him and he was a lovely dog."
Mr Rowley left Oliver in his yard when he went to work at 8am on March 26.
But when he returned at 6.15pm, the dog was nowhere to be seen.
And plumber Mr Rowley, who paid £450 for the dog, believes Oliver has been stolen.
He said the yard was secure and there was no way the puppy could have got out on its own.
Mr Rowley added: "When I realised he had gone missing I asked my two lodgers if they had seen or heard anything and they hadn't.
"On the day he went missing, I had a card pushed through the letterbox from the RSPCA.
"When I rang them up to see what it was about they said they had received a complaint about me being heavy-handed with the dog when it comes to toilet training, which I hadn't.
"I'd left a toolbox in the yard and there were some ladders as well, but none of that was taken. The whole thing is just very odd."
Mr Rowley said he had been in touch with kennels in the area and that neither they nor vets had seen Oliver.
He added: "One of the neighbours told me they saw someone wearing a hat climbing the gate into the back yard.
"I've spoken to the police and they have taken some statements from neighbours and they are viewing the CCTV tapes from one of the shops on the road.
"Hopefully somebody somewhere knows what has happened and I can get him back."
Oliver was wearing a black and red collar when he went missing.
And the puppy walks with a slight limp, according to his owner.
A Staffordshire Police spokesman confirmed the investigation was ongoing.
She added: "We are not ruling out the possibility that the dog may have been stolen."
Anyone with information should call Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 4455, quoting incident number 739 of March 26.